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WILL AUSTRALIA HAVE A COMEBACK TODAY?

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Match facts
August 8, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Start time 19:00 (13:30 GMT, 23:30 EST)

 

Big Picture
There is no substitute for match conditioning. This much was clear after the first Twenty20 between Sri Lanka and Australia in Kandy, as the hosts showed the benefits of a testing tour of England, as opposed to the training camps in Brisbane and net sessions in Colombo that served as the visitors’ preparation for the tour opener. The Sri Lankans also showed far better knowledge of the conditions, bowling plenty of spin on a surface that offered turn, while Cameron White preferred to use his pace bowlers in the latter stages and saw them belted out of sight by his opposite number Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Australia’s coach Tim Nielsen described it as a “frustrating” start to the tour, but there will be more gnashing of teeth in store for the tourists if they do not tighten their fundamentals and show a little more understanding of the conditions that confront them. Shaun Marsh and David Hussey in particular looked out of sorts against the accurate spin of Dilruwan Perera, while Mitchell Johnson’s first spell of the tour was disheartening in its inconsistency. More encouraging was the bowling and batting of Steve O’Keefe, and the slugging power of David Warner.

Australia need to show the capacity to learn quickly from the reverses of the first match, while Sri Lankan will seek to extend a psychological advantage.

 

In the spotlight
Tillakaratne Dilshan was the undisputed star of the first match, and the Australians will need to find better ways of coping with his combative attitude and inventive strokeplay. Dilshan was not placed under too much pressure as a captain in the field either, as his bowlers kept the Australians in check. Cameron White said he had resorted to adjusting his field to counter the ‘Dil-scoop’ and thus created other gaps for the Sri Lankan captain, a rare admission.

Mitchell Johnson was attacked mercilessly towards the end of the innings, and was unable to find consistent line or length, let alone any swing. His work with the new bowling coach Craig McDermott is key to Australia’s success in future matches on this tour, and he will want to improve his performance after a shoddy start.

Team news
Sri Lanka seem unlikely to make many changes to a team that performed so soundly and evenly in game one. For the Australians, Aaron Finch’s pugnacity may be useful after some of the batsmen struggled for traction in the opener, and James Pattinson could be in line for a T20 debut.

Sri Lanka (probable): 1 Mahela Jayawardene, 2 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 3 Kumar Sangakkara, 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Jeevan Mendis, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Dilruwan Perera, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Dhammika Prasad, 10 Rangana Herath, 11 Suranga Lakmal.

Australia (probable): 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 David Hussey, 5 Cameron White (capt), 6 Steven Smith, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Steve O’Keefe, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Brett Lee, 11 James Pattinson.

Pitch and conditions
The surface for the first match confused the Australians somewhat by offering some bounce but also plenty of spin, a combination the Sri Lankans were far quicker to adjust to. Match two will be played on a similarly equal-opportunity surface.

Stats and trivia

* Tillakaratne Dilshan’s century was the fifth in T20 internationals
* Dinesh Chandimal was the fifth batsman to be out hit wicket in T20I matches
* Sri Lanka had not previously won a T20I at home, losing their first four such fixtures
* Dilruwan Perera achieved the rare feat of taking wickets in each of his first three overs in international cricket

Quotes
“I had the confidence to play it. It worked and I think after I played the Dil-scoop they changed the field and I felt [it was] more easy to score more runs in other areas.”

Tillakaratne Dilshan succeeded in dictating terms to Australia’s bowlers in game one

“If anyone scores a hundred off 57 [55] balls it will be hard work to win the game from there. But look, there were some disappointing aspects of the game from our end as well.”

Cameron White knows the Australians need to sharpen up after looking rusty in the opener.

                                                    

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